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Auderghem / Oudergem (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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[Municipal flag]

Municipal flag of Auderghem / Oudergem - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 26 March 2005

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Presentation of Auderghem/Oudergem

The municipality of Auderghem/Oudergem (29,681 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 903 ha) is located south-east of Brussels, in the Region of Brussels-Capital. Therefore, the municipality has two official names, Auderghem (French) and Oudergem (Dutch), according to the bilingual status of the Region.

The name of the municipality might come from ouder, "ancestor", and hem, "home". An alternative possible origin is Alderinghaiam, "the home of Aldaric's family". Auderghem/Oudergem was a hamlet of the town of Watermael until 1863.

The forest of Soignes (1,654 ha, mostly planted with beeches) is partially located on the municipal territory of Auderghem/Oudergem. This forest, called by Julius Caesar Arduenna silva and by later authors Carbonaria silva because of its charcoal kilns, got its name from the Celtic root sunnia or senna, meaning "calm water". The same root gave its name to the river Senne which goes through Brussels. In 1050, the name of Sonia was mentioned in a chart called Donatio Angelae. In the XIIth century, the forest yielded one fourth of the income of the Duke of Brabant and was used as a game reservation. The Belgian State bought in 1910 the forest to the Société Générale de Belgique.

Highlights of the industrial past of Auderghem/Oudergem are its brewery and its laundries, reknown for the purity of the water they used. The cartridge factory Marga was very producive during the Boers' War (1899-1902), thus explaining why the borough where it was located was named Transvaal.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 9 November 2002

Municipal flag of Auderghem/Oudergem

The flag of Auderghem/Oudergem, as communicated by the municipal administration, is in proportion 1:2, which is odd for a Belgian municipal flag, divided in three fields, blue (upper left half), green (lower left half) and red (right half).
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 6 January 1925.
Green stands for the forest which covered the territory in the Middle Ages, blue for the coat of the Virgin, red for the field on which are placed the arms of the Rouge-Cloître abbey (a crown crossed by two palms and a sword).

The municipal arms, as shown on the municipal website, are vertically divided. The first part shows on a field azure the Blessed Virgin with a crown and nimbus or, the feet standing on a terrace vert, holding in senester Jesus with a nimbus or. She sits on a kiosk topped by two doves. The second part is gules, a crown with three finials, crossed in saltire by two palms and a sword per pale, all argent. The arms were granted by a Royal Decree on 31 July 1926, with the following description:
Parti: au premier d'azur à la Sainte-Vierge couronnée et nimbée d'or, les pieds posés sur une terrasse de sinople et tenant sur le bras senestre l'Enfant Jésus nimbé d'or. La Sainte-Vierge assise sur un édicule également d'or, vu de côté et soutenant aux extrêmités de son toît deux colombes affrontées du même; au deuxième, de gueules à une couronne à trois fleurons, traversée par deux palmes passées en sautoir et par une épée haute posée en pal et brochant sur le palmes, le tout d'argent.

There was no former municipal seal available as a source for the present coat of arms, which features the arms of two former powerful religious communities suppressed by Joseph II in 1784: the Dominican women's convent, still known as Val-Duchesse since it was founded by Aleyde, the widow of Duke of Brabant Henri III in 1262; and the Augustine priory of Rouge-Cloître (lit., Red-Cloister), founded in 1368.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 26 March 2005